Tag: cherries

Cherry Lemon Tea Time Tart

Cherry Lemon Tart

I had a passionate discussion about ‘the best cherries’ with the owner of a vegetable shop in my neighborhood. He’s a kind and very hard working guy from Turkey who never seems to sleep. No matter what time I pass by his shop, the young man is always busy as a bee and he helped me out so many times when I needed a certain fruit or vegetable for a photo shoot that wasn’t in season. Calling his buddies from all over, he makes the impossible possible. He managed to bring red currants to my kitchen when everyone else laughed at me when I asked for the little berries weeks before their season. He always finds someone in Spain, Greece, or Turkey to make me happy and my photo shoot work. My private cooking follows the season but unfortunately, editorial schedules don’t.

So last week he told me that he has very good cherries at the moment, he praised their glossy beauty, but also their outstanding taste. He went even further and said that they are better than German cherries, which, in all respect, is quite a strong statement. In my eyes, I had the best cherries of my life in my granny Lisa’s garden and I don’t think that anything in the world is ever going to change that. Those fruits were not only packed with juices and flavour, but also with the most precious memories. And this is something I love about summer fruits. Take strawberries, blackberries, red or black currants, or cherries, almost everybody, at least in the northern hemisphere, seems to have childhood memories connected not only to these fruits but also to picking and eating them. And this is priceless, and also in a very beautiful way saved for a lifetime. For my vegetable man from Turkey, the Turkish cherries will always be the sweetest and juiciest and I understand why this is how he feels, and for me, the crop from Lisa’s garden used to beat every cherry in the world, because it was her tree – and I miss it.

When I tried my friends fruits at the shop, I had to admit that they were really good. So I bought a huge bag full of them, went straight home, and baked a cherry lemon tart. It’s a tea time classic in my kitchen and the sweet and sour filling can easily take a little summer-makeover – the cherries make it a bit sweeter and juicier. Next time I’ll make it with red currants, but they’ll have to be in season where I live.

Cherry Lemon Tart

 

Cherry Lemon Tart

Cherry Lemon Tart

Serves 6-8

For the pastry

flour 200g / 1 1/2 cups
granulated sugar 65g / 1/3 cup
a pinch of salt
butter, cold, 110g / 1/2 cup
organic egg yolks 2

For the lemon filling

organic eggs 2
organic egg yolks 2
heavy cream 100ml / 1/3 cup and 2 tablespoons
crème fraîche or sour cream 3 tablespoons
granulated sugar 100g / 1/2 cup, plus 1-2 teaspoons for the topping
a pinch of salt
ground cardamom 1/4 teaspoon
freshly squeezed lemon juice 3 tablespoons
lemon zest 2 1/2 tablespoons, plus 1-2 teaspoons for the topping
cherries, with their pits, 20 (plus a few cherries for decoration, optional)

For the pastry, combine the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Add the butter and use a knife to cut it into the flour until there are just small pieces left. Quickly rub the butter into the flour with your fingers until combined. Add the egg yolks, set the mixer to medium speed, and mix until crumbly. Form the dough into a thick disc, wrap it in plastic wrap, and freeze for 12 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200°C / 400°F (conventional setting).

Roll the dough out between cling film and line a 23cm / 9″ tart pan (preferably loose-bottom) with the pastry. Prick with a fork and bake for about 10-12 minutes or until golden and crisp. Take the pan out of the oven and set aside.

Turn the oven down to 180°C / 350°F.

For the filling, in a large bowl, beat the eggs, egg yolks, heavy cream, crème fraîche, sugar, salt, and cardamom for about 2 minutes until well combined. Stir in the lemon juice and zest and mix well. Pour the lemon filling on top of the pre-baked pastry, spread the cherries in the filling, and carefully transfer the tart pan back to the oven. Sprinkle with a little sugar and bake for about 40 minutes or until set.

Let the tart cool for 10 minutes, then sprinkle with a little lemon zest and decorate with the remaining cherries (optional). Serve warm or cold.

Cherry Lemon Tart

 

Cherry Lemon Tart

 

Cherry Lemon Tart

 

cherrylemontart7

 

cherrylemontart12

 

cherrylemontart10

Cherry Chocolate Tart with whipped Cardamom Cream

Cherry Chocolate Tart

There are a few combinations in the world of summer foods that are so perfect that I can only sit back and smile. Strawberries with Champagne is one of them or Mozzarella di Bufala with fruity tomatoes. Cherries with bittersweet chocolate is another one of my favourites, it’s a heavenly pleasure to taste the sweet juices of this firm fruit merged with the dark depth of cocoa. Cherries are at the peak of their season at the moment and a sumptuous tarte au chocolate has been on the top of my baking list for months, so why not combine the two!

The different flavours and textures in a sweet composition have to be as well balanced as in a savoury dish. In the case of my tart, I wanted the crumbly pastry to stand up strong next to the chocolate which can easily be too overpowering. So I went for a thin layer of the dark filling, roughly the same height as the short crust base. This ratio allows both of them to show off their qualities – buttery crunchy and velvety smooth. Although I’m not a big fan of creamy additions to cakes – be it whipped or ice cream – here, I chose to top the tart which a voluptuous dollop of sweet sour cream mixed with cardamom. The light sourness added a fresh contrast to the heavy darkness and made the rich composition complete. We ended up with the prettiest and most satisfying treat on our coffee table – I couldn’t have asked for more.

Cherry Chocolate Tart

 

Cherry Chocolate Tart

 Cherry Chocolate Tart with whipped Cardamom Cream

It’s easiest to bake the tart in a loose-bottom tart pan.

For a 23cm / 9″ tart pan you need

sweet cherries 12, for the topping

For the short crust base

flour 170g / 6oz / 1 1/3 cups
sugar 50g / 1 3/4oz / 1/4 cup
a pinch of salt
butter, cold, 90g / 3 1/4oz
organic egg yolk 1
water, cold, 1 tablespoon

Combine the flour with the sugar and salt. Cut the butter with a knife into the flour until there are just little pieces of butter left. Continue with your fingers and rub the butter into the flour until combined. Add the egg yolk and water and continue mixing with the hooks of your mixer until you have a crumbly mixture. Form a thick disc, wrap in cling film and put in the freezer for 20 minutes.

Set the oven to 180°C / 355°F (top/ bottom heat).

Roll out the dough between cling film and line your tart pan with the flat pastry. Prick with a fork and bake in the oven for 11 minutes or until golden and crisp. Prepare the chocolate filling while the pastry is in the oven.

 

For the chocolate filling

heavy cream 80ml / 1/3 cup
milk 40ml / 3 tablespoons
best quality bittersweet chocolate, broken into chunks, 150g / 5oz, plus 1 tablespoon (grated) for the topping
butter 15g / 1 tablespoon
a pinch of salt
sugar 1 tablespoon
organic egg, beaten, 1

Set the oven to 170°C / 340°F (top/ bottom heat) once the short crust base is baked.

In a sauce pan, bring the cream and milk to the boil. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the chocolate, butter, salt and sugar (leave the pan off the heat). Once it’s melted, pour into a bowl and whisk in the egg, the mixture should be well combined. Pour the chocolate filling on top of the pre-baked pastry and bake in the oven for about 15 minutes or until set. Take the tart pan out of the oven and let it cool for about 10 minutes before you sprinkle it with the grated chocolate. Decorate with the cherries and prepare the whipped sour cream.

 

For the whipped cardamom sour cream

sour cream (or crème fraîche) 150g / 5oz
sugar 1 teaspoon
cardamom 1/2 teaspoon, to taste

Whisk the sour cream, sugar and cardamom and adjust to taste.

Cherry Chocolate Tart

 

Cherry Chocolate Tart

 

cherrychocolatetart3

 

Cherry Chocolate Tart

 

Cherry Chocolate Tart

 

cherrychocolatetart16

Butter Buchtel Buns with Cherries and Vanilla Custard

Butter Buchtel Buns

Fragrant and fluffy! Buchteln are buttery sweet yeast rolls tucked together in a baking pan to keep them juicy. Break the warm buns apart when they are freshly out of the oven and you can enjoy the sweetest smell that yeast dough can possibly create. To get an even better idea of what to expect, imagine brioche, just softer, with a flowery aroma and a sweet filling of juicy cherries. Although this is the prefect Sunday morning breakfast treat, they also make a fantastic, rustic dessert, especially when you serve them with a thick vanilla custard. You can replace the cherries with your favourite jam, curd or poppy seeds, basically with everything that fits to a buttery sweet bun. I used canned fruits stuffed with a little lump of sugar to release their juices, there’s no need to wait for their harvest in summer. It worked great! This is the right recipe to pull out all the preserved fruit cans and jars piled up in your pantry, apricots, peaches, plums are great too, just stuff them into your butter buchteln and enjoy their juicy sweetness.

Buchteln have been with me for quite a while, when I went to university I used to go to my favourite bakery at least twice a week to buy a couple of their fabulous plum cinnamon buchteln. I’ll never forget the satisfaction I felt with each bite, and even today, after all those years, they still manage put me right back to this comforting feeling.

Buchteln (also known as Ofennudel or Rohrnudel in German) are very popular in Southern German, Austrian, Hungarian, Czech and Slovenian cuisine, several variations on this recipe spread into Polish, Croatian and Serbian baking over the years. However, they remind me a lot of Italian baking, the rich dough is almost yellow, made with lots of butter and eggs refined with orange zest and vanilla, it’s as fragrant as a panettone. Simple and pure, yet so satisfying!

Butter Buchtel Buns

 

Butter Buchtel Buns

Butter Buchtel Buns with Cherries and Vanilla Custard 

I used a round 19cm / 7.5″ (6cm / 2.5″ high) baking dish. The buchteln should be close to each other.

For 8 buchteln you need

plain flour 400g / 14 ounces
sugar 60g / 2 1/4 ounces
dry yeast 1 sachet (7g / 1/4 ounce)
salt 1/4 teaspoon
vanilla, scraped, 1/4 pod (or 1 package vanilla sugar)
orange zest 1 teaspoon
milk 125ml / 4 1/4 ounces
butter, melted, 80g / 3 ounces plus 80g / 3 ounces to coat the buchteln
organic eggs 2
canned cherries, for the filling 16-24
sugar cubes, quartered, 4-6
icing sugar, for the topping

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, yeast, salt, vanilla and zest. Whisk the cold milk with 80g (3 ounces) of the hot melted butter and the eggs (the mixture should be lukewarm) and add to the dry flour mixture. Mix with the dough hooks of your mixer for a few minutes until the dough is well combined and elastic. Continue kneading with your hands for about 4 minutes until you have a soft and silky dough ball. Put the dough back into the bowl, cover with a tea towel and let it rise in the warm oven (35°C / 95°F) for 70 minutes (top/ bottom heat and not fan-assisted!). The dough will need the last 10 minutes to reach the right volume.

Melt the remaining 80g (3 ounces) of butter in a sauce pan, take it off the heat as soon as it’s liquid, it shouldn’t be brown.

Take the bowl out of the oven, punch the dough down and knead for another 30 seconds. Divide the dough into 8 portions and roll each in your hands to a smooth ball. Fill each cherry with a quarter of a sugar cube. Use your thumb to make a hole in each dough ball and stuff it with 2-3 cherries. Close the ball well, use 2 fingers to close the fold of the hole tightly. Pour 3 tablespoons of the melted butter into the baking pan. Turn the little dough balls in the remaining melted butter and tuck them closely next to each other in the baking pan (the fold should be at the bottom). Pour the remaining butter over the buchteln. Cover with a tea towel and let them rise in a warm place for another 15-20 minutes.

Set the oven to 180°C / 355°F (fan-assisted oven).

Bake the buchteln for 30 minutes or until golden brown, check with a skewer, it should come out clean. When they are done, brush the warm top with a tablespoon of butter. Sprinkle with a little icing sugar and serve with warm vanilla custard.

 

For the vanilla custard

organic egg yolks 4
cornstarch 4 tablespoons
sugar 100g / 3.5 ounces
milk 500ml / 17 ounces
a pinch of salt
vanilla pod, slit slightly, 1

Whisk the egg yolks with the cornstarch, sugar, salt and 50ml / 2 ounces of the milk until well combined.

In a sauce pan, bring the remaining milk with the vanilla pod to the boil. Take the vanilla pod out and scrape the seeds out of the bean into the milk. Add the egg mixture to the hot milk, whisking well. Take the sauce pan off the heat after 1 minute and continue whisking for 2 minutes, serve immediately.

Butter Buchtel Buns

 

Butter Buchtel Buns

 

Butter Buchtel Buns

 

Butter Buchtel Buns

Cherry and Chocolate Muffins

Cherry and Chocolate Muffins

After almost six weeks without baking any muffins it was time to pull out the tray again. I mentioned my excessive cherry shopping last week and this recipe is only one of the baking results that this led too. There was the Swabian Kirschenmichel and a couple other sweets that didn’t even make it onto the blog, it was just too much cooking and baking to write about!

So here’s one of my creations, muffins stuffed with chunky bittersweet chocolate and sweet dark cherries, unpitted to keep them firm and juicy. I find this combination is one of the best for muffins. Although I love them with blueberries or with my blood orange marmalade mixed into the dough, but the sweetness of the black fruits and the dark chocolate melted into the cakey sponginess is just too good! So good that I fill each mold with one third more of the dough than I usually do, more dough means bigger muffins!

Cherry and Chocolate Muffins

 Cherry and Chocolate Muffins

For a muffin tray with 12 molds you need

fresh black cherries, unpitted or pitted, 250g/ 9 ounces
bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped, 100g / 3.5 ounces
plain flour 320g / 11.5 ounces
sugar 100g / 3.5 ounces
baking powder 3 leveled teaspoons
baking soda 1/2 teaspoon
salt 1/4 teaspoon
milk 210ml / 7 ounces
butter, melted, 120g / 4.5 ounces
organic eggs 2

Set your oven to 190°C / 375°F (fan-assisted oven) and put paper baking cups into the 12 molds.

Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk the milk, melted butter and eggs in another bowl. Pour the liquid mixture into the dry mixture, stir with a wooden spoon until you have a lumpy dough. Gently fold in the cherries and chocolate. The more you mix it the more it will lose its light texture.

Fill the muffin tray and bake for 15 minutes or until golden.

Cherry and Chocolate Muffins

 

Cherry and Chocolate Muffins

 

Cherry and Chocolate Muffins

Kirschenmichel, sweet Cherries in a Swabian Bread Pudding

Kirschenplotzer

Sweet, dark cherries bedded in an aromatic bread pudding spiced with cinnamon, cloves and Kirsch liqueur, that’s the famous Swabian Kirschenplotzer also known as Kirschenmichel! It’s a bit more firm and less soggy compared to other bread-based desserts, you can cut it like a cake but it still has the juicy texture that a good pudding should have.

I first found out about this cake through my step father. He grew up in the south of Germany, his mother and grandmother were specialists for traditional bread pudding. He taught me that unpitted cherries create the best result, this thankfully bypasses the pitting and so I enjoy the sweet fruits with all their juiciness. The bread you choose for the batter also has a big effect on the pudding’s taste therefore you should always use the best buns you can get. Mine are from a Swabian bakery, tasty, sweet and spongy soft buns. You can use stale white left over bread but I prefer to bake the pudding with cakey buns which aren’t too hard, they give it a nicer texture in my opinion. When it comes to the fruits I always buy fresh and not canned cherries. Preserved fruits work as well but their taste is watered down and not fresh enough, there’s no crunchiness left.

There’s one thing you should keep in mind when you take the first bite of this cake, mind the pits! I almost injured one of my cousins at one of our family gatherings when I forgot to tell her that I left out the pitting. Luckily, her teeth survived and everybody loved the cake. There is lots of spitting involved so you shouldn’t serve this cake at a formal afternoon tea, keep it for friends you know well!

Kirschenplotzer

Kirschenmichel

For a 25cm / 10″ springform pan you need

sweet cherries, unpitted, rinsed, 1kg / 2 pounds
hazelnuts, chopped, 60g / 2 ounces
sweet soft buns, fresh or stale, cut into cubes, 175g / 6 ounces (around 3-4 buns)
milk 350 ml / 12 ounces
organic eggs 3
a pinch of salt
butter, soft, 100g / 3.5 ounces
sugar 120g / 4 ouces
Kirsch liqueur 2 tablespoons
plain flour 100g / 3.5 ounces
baking powder 2 1/2 teaspoons
ground cinnamon 2 1/2 teaspoons
cloves, crushed, 4
breadcrumbs to line the pan

Set the oven to 180°C / 355°F (fan-assisted oven), butter and line the springform pan with breadcrumbs.

Bring the milk to the boil, put the chopped bread in a big bowl and soak it in the milk for a few minutes.

Beat the egg whites and salt till stiff.

Mix the butter and sugar till fluffy, add the egg yolks and Kirsch liqueur and mix for 2 minutes till creamy. Stir in the soaked buns with a spoon and mix well.

Combine the flour, baking powder and spices and stir into the butter egg mixture with a wooden spoon. When it’s well combined stir in the stiff egg whites. Add the cherries and nuts and pour into the springform pan.

Bake for 50 minutes or until golden brown. Check with a skewer, it should come out clean. Let the cake cool down for a few minutes.

You should keep the Kirschenmichel in the fridge but always serve it at room temperature!

Kirschenplotzer

 

Kirschenplotzer

 

Kirschenplotzer